by Helen Stratford
After an intense year of mission in our Brooklyn Heart’s Home Center, time came for both Maria B. and Alexandra F. to say farewell and go back to their homelands. We all want to honor the gift of themselves to us with the words of our friend Helen.
“I want to say thank you - to both Alexandra and Maria - for the love, the laughter, and the spirit of Christ that they brought into my life throughout the last year. The quality of my solitude and silence was always transformed by their visits. Their love, their tenderness, the mutual inquisitiveness and receptivity - always endowed and revitalized my sense of purpose and being with their understanding and recognition. It was an affirmation of who I spiritually am. Generosity of heart, magnanimity of spirit, the ability to use one’s gifts of intellect and sensibility to offer compassion and insight - these are the very gifts exhibited by both Alexandra and Maria, and that we are called upon by Christ to employ as operatives - capable of offering redemption and salvation (and Love) to the Other. It is the essential humanism and ethos of Christianity.
For some, the sense of being weary, bedraggled and downtrodden is not necessarily material - it does not necessitate that we have tattered collars and cuffs, worn out shoes, and need a few coins tossed in our tin cups. On the contrary, it means our souls and spirits are critically embattled and challenged by a world that would refute not only God’s existence - but the very existence of the soul. It means that we are threatened by an external reality that would deny and ignore a deeper, more profound aspect of the human experience capable of perceiving the Sacred. For that is what we crave and long for. That is truly what sustains us. And that is what the hearts of Alexandra and Maria deliver!!!
As an artist, I lead a somewhat reclusive and monastic existence, a life of solitude in which I create and compose. It is a way of staying close to God, and of protecting the Sacred. Yet it can be very lonely - and sequestered - and although the world, when I venture out, might be grateful and appreciative of the gifts procured in such isolation (the songs, the poems, etc.), they are oftentimes unaware of the truth of my interior, of my humanity, of my experience - or of the sacred depths within. Few seldom visit such regions - but among them, Alexandra and Maria.
Namaste. The Divine in Me acknowledges and Greets the Divine in You. Thank You.”